December 7, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9665

Gaza Journalist: Hamas, Islamic Jihad Officials Voice Belligerent Slogans, Ignoring Gazans' Difficult Circumstances, And Seek To Advance Their Own Personal Interests

December 7, 2021
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 9665

In a November 27 article on the Palestinian website which is close to supporters of former Palestinian Authority senior official Muhammad Dahlan, Gaza-based journalist Abd Al-Qader Hassuna harshly criticized Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) officials who preach that Gazans should continue the armed struggle against Israel. These officials, he said, travel abroad frequently and invest their money abroad, and have no personal experience of the suffering of ordinary Gazans who are enduring the difficulties of making a living while subjected to the yoke of Hamas's failed government. Therefore, he said, they should not speak in the name of the Gazans, or voice belligerent slogans that have no real meaning.

In recent months, Hassuna, who previously worked for the Al-Rai news agency which is overseen by Hamas, has published a number of articles criticizing the Hamas regime, that are in line with the ongoing anti-Hamas economic and social protests in Gaza. These articles have included highly unusual criticism of corruption in the Hamas movement.[1] Hassuna's November 27 article was prompted by statements by PIJ secretary-general Ziyad Nakhalah in an interview with Al-Mayadeen TV, in which he blasted Hamas for making it easier for Palestinian workers to enter Israel and added that the PIJ would launch a rocket attack on Tel Aviv if Israel targets any of its members.[2] According to Hassuna, Nakhalah's statements reflect ignorance of the reality of the miserable Gaza residents who are not prepared for yet another military escalation.

To view this clip of Nakhalah's statements on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

The following are translated excerpts from Hassuna's article:

"Thousands of citizens have been killed and thousands [more] wounded, and thousands of homes have been destroyed in the four wars that Gaza has been through... so that the PIJ's secretary-general [Ziyad Nakhalah] could appear before us yesterday [November 24, 2021] with incendiary statements, including threatening Israel that if any PIJ activist were to be assassinated, the city of Tel Aviv would be bombed. Many [Gazans], including myself, think that [such] statements are inappropriate at this time. It appears that the speaker is ignoring what happened and what is still happening in Gaza – the misery, the loss of direction, and the poverty that have become Gazans' trademarks, such that they are not prepared at this time to experience any military escalation...

"It appears that the PIJ secretary-general, who lives in Tehran,[3] is unaware of the pain, repression, and tyranny suffered by Gazans, particularly in light of his astonishment... at the fact that the [Hamas] Labor Ministry website in Gaza has been registering workers who have been unemployed for many years for jobs [in Israel],[4] and he is claiming that this [Hamas] government in Gaza has become a contractor for [supplying Gazan] workers to Israel. It appears that the PIJ leader has not been updated regarding the record-breaking unemployment in Gaza, and does not know that over two-thirds of Gazans live below the poverty line and that they are more interested in finding a job [than in military escalation against Israel]...

Palestinians seeking work in Israel throng the Bureau of Commerce in northern Gaza (Source: Al-Ayyam (PA), October 7, 2021)

"His statements are similar to statements by some Hamas officials, because they [Hamas and PIJ officials] do not live among the people and do not suffer as they do. They have investments and properties [abroad] and they frequently travel, and then come back here and praise the resistance, nationalism, and steadfastness, challenging [Israel] and voicing flowery slogans that the people are sick of.

"[Oh Hamas or PIJ official], if you want the people to stand fast and be ready to bear the burden [of the struggle against Israel], you must live like the [simple people do]: You must have your electricity cut off like your people do; you must suffer at the [border] crossings and stand in long lines to travel [outside the Gaza Strip][5] like your people do; you must, like your people, go to overburdened hospitals in Gaza and wait hours for a doctor to diagnose you; the [Hamas government] should take half your wages, like they do from your people, if you've even  managed to find work. Only after that [should you] say what you want to say, and then I will be happy to hear it...

"All officials who speak in the name of the people [from] outside Gaza, from the hotels of the countries hosting them, voicing slogans of resistance and the like, are serving their own personal interests and implementing the agendas of the various countries [that host Hamas and PIJ officials]..."[6]


[1] MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1604, Economic, Social Protests Against Hamas Flare Up Again In Gaza: 'We Want To Live'; The Economic Hardship Has Become Intolerable; Hamas Officials Are Out Of Touch With The People, November 11, 2021. For more articles by Hassuna criticizing Hamas, see, September 12, 2021;, January 12, 2021.

[2] See MEMRI TV Clip No. 9201, Palestinian Islamic Jihad Leader Ziyad Nakhalah Criticizes Hamas For Facilitating The Work Of Gaza Laborers In Israel, Adds: The Arab Regimes Just Want The Palestinian Cause To End, One Way Or Another. The interview took place in the evening of November 24, 2021, and the next morning the official PIJ website published an article about it. Hassuna's article appeared on the morning of November 27, and had apparently been written on November 26., November 24, 2021;, November 25, 2021.

[3] It appears that he was referring to PIJ's pro-Iran orientation. Nakhalah actually lives primarily in Beirut, the Lebanese capital.

[4] This was agreed to within the ongoing framework of Hamas-Israel negotiations for preserving the calm in the Gaza Strip, mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the UN. Permits for Gaza residents to work in Israel are issued in coordination with the Palestinian Authority's General Authority for Civil Affairs., November 26, 2021.

[5] He appears to be referring to the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

[6], November 27, 2021.

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